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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 11-03-2011, 08:02 AM
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Sigma 150-500mm anyone use one with a Canon 7D

Have been using a Canon 300mm F4 lens with a 1.4 converter for a few weeks and have been very pleased with the overall results and have managed to get some shots i am very happy with of Water Fowl species and Birds in flight but have been struggling quite a bit with smaller bird species. I use good field craft techniques but the sites i mostly take photos on are on my doorstep and are former gravel pit sites with 24/7 public access and smaller bird species appear to be very, very wary of anyone let alone someone with a camera and lens. Have given a lot of thought to this and speaking to someone i know last weekend who gets fantastic results from his set-up advised a longer range lens.

Has a result have now sent for a Sigma 150-500mm lens (the latest model) and now wondering if anyone else uses one with a Canon 7D or a 40D and if so what sort of results are they getting?

Also can you use it in conjuction with a 1.4x converter?
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Old 11-03-2011, 05:20 PM
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Re: Sigma 150-500mm anyone use one with a Canon 7D

Sorry to sound negative but I doubt you'll get much if any improvement. The Canon 300mm with a 1.4XTC will in my opinion give you better detail than the Sigma 150-500mm.
I had your 300mm set up for a while and the image quality I couldn't fault. I've also got the Sigma 50-500mm. There was no contest between those two. The Canon with the TC easily gave better detail and contrast than the Sigma at 500mm. The only reason I sold it was that the TC I was using caused the AF performance and the continuous shooting rate to slow down far too much for my liking, plus it caused problems with the IS. I've since heard that the Canon TC doesn't have this problem.
The results you should be getting should be very similar to the Canon 400mm F5.6 L. Ollie and myself did a test of that lens against the Sigma to see if you really miss out on the extra 100mm and the simple answer is you don't. You can crop an image taken with the Canon lens and retain more detail than you get with the 50-500mm at it's widest setting. (F6.3)
Reading this you'd think I didn't like the Sigma 50-500mm. Not so. Its trump card is of course the zoom and the ability to take shots much closer than the 400mm. Your 300mm F4 is also very good at close focus range.
I also think the 150-500mm is a fine lens, there's a few users on here who get superb results with it.
My advice would be to do what I do. Go to Public parks where the birds are very used to seeing Humans close up. You'll then get the quality your looking for.
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Last edited by glsammy; 11-03-2011 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:03 PM
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Re: Sigma 150-500mm anyone use one with a Canon 7D

This is not a combination I have tried personally but have read about/heard from people who have not been happy with this lens on the 7d. This is not to knock the lens as apparently it's good on other cameras, as some members here can prove. It's very much a case of try before you buy!
With smaller bird species you can never have enough focal length, many claim, I certainly find my 600 F4 (on a 1.3 crop body) a bit short at times!
From what I have seen I think you would be disappointed with this lens compared to your 300, I didn't rate it next to mine and found F 6.3 to be limiting. Try a Sigma/Canon 500mm prime and start SAVING!!!!
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:59 PM
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Re: Sigma 150-500mm anyone use one with a Canon 7D

If you have already ordered the Sigma then 'the Die is cast' etc.

As glsammy said, you probably won't get any improvement although you may find this lens a bit more useful as a general purpose lens.

Some people seem to struggle with the 150-500 but on a 40D I am frequently surprised by the results; for example two days ago and handheld, although I was resting my hands on some railings. 500 mm.



The light wasn't good, although that can sometimes be an advantage with egrets.

I suspect that a lot of negative reports about the 150-500 come from people who are expecting too much under difficult conditions. I find that it works best in the F8 to F14 range and F11 is ideal; which means that if you want to keep the ISO at 800 or preferably 400 with a sensible shutter speed you will be somewhat limited with regard to acceptable light conditions.

The OS works well and I have taken some quite sharp images while hand holding, but with a realistic shutter speed. Even on a good tripod, I like to keep the shutter speed at 1/200 or higher.

I suspect that if you are having problems with smaller birds the problem may be more to do with your settings. I always just use the centre auto focusing point as multiple points can give false focus by locking on to a closer twig instead of the bird. Even with only one focusing point I sometimes find that manual focusing works best.

The same goes for exposure; where spot metering is often more accurate.

And with regard to camera modes; forget the full auto programme and go for something more adjustable like Tv or Av, depending on the circumstances.

The Sigma will take a converter, but not the Canon converter, however I don't really recommend it for common use. It will get you a snap of a distant bird which will be perfectly acceptable for identification but don't expect to win competitions with it.

But, used with care, I feel sure that you will get good results from a 150-500.

Last edited by Geoff F; 11-03-2011 at 09:03 PM. Reason: extra line
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Old 11-03-2011, 11:00 PM
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Re: Sigma 150-500mm anyone use one with a Canon 7D

thanks for the info

will try it on the 7D and the 40D and see what it can do but after reading this not too hopefull.

A 500mm prime will be on the cards but it will have to be a second hand one at present (if one ever surfaces)......if anyone knows of one for sale at a reasonable price could they send me a PM and i know it may be being too hopefull.

Geoff with the smaller species i have been trying centre spot focus on ISO 400 in AV setting but dont know if the shutter speed of 1/125 or 1/160 is fast enough? anything over this i end up with mostly blurred pics even with a monopod and tripod and out of a few hundred shots may only get three or four sharp ones and these are not pin sharp. maybe i am still doing something wrong
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:08 AM
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Re: Sigma 150-500mm anyone use one with a Canon 7D

Quote:
Originally Posted by darrenm View Post
thanks for the info
few hundred shots may only get three or four sharp ones and these are not pin sharp. maybe i am still doing something wrong
Darren,

If you are referring to images straight out of the camera, then I wouldn't expect you to get 'pin sharp' images. All digital images require some sharpening by means of 'software' to obtain so called 'pin sharp' results. This applies whether images are in raw or jpeg.
I think you will find many photographers set their camera so that sharpening isn't carried out in camera. It is a fact of course that the level of sharpening in camera can be adjusted from 'none' to a 'max value'. The danger is that if over sharpened in camera nothing can be done to correct it.

John D
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:21 AM
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Re: Sigma 150-500mm anyone use one with a Canon 7D

After re-reading Geoff's advice i now realise perhaps my main error with small bird species is that with a 300mm lens and a 1.4x converter i should be upping the ISO or shutter speed and maybe altering f-stops but have no idea how to get the balance right for each situation. I mostly use a monopod and have tried hand held but found i can only get decent pics hand held with birds in flight.

Coming from a digiscoping background i know i have a hell of lot to learn with DSLR's and wish someone would write a new very basic book on bird photography with DSLR's. I have bought all the books on wildlife photography techniques available at present but have found them not that helpfull overall

A no nonesense book for a beginner on bird photography with DSLR's could be a big seller and it could take away some of the hour upon hour of frustrating trial and error away and for people to start to get the best out of their expensive kit. I dont expect to get award winning photographs but would like to get a few decent ones i can be happy to show people.
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:32 AM
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Re: Sigma 150-500mm anyone use one with a Canon 7D

i am using photoshop elements for my main processing and picassa for a very quick look before any sharpening and cropping takes place and have shot in both raw and j-peg but have been mostly using j-peg due to size and space on the pc but have bought a new back up hard drive in the last week and will be going back to Raw once i can sort everything out.

I am putting in 2 full days a week taking photographs at present and any other spare time i get and have done since November but at times have felt like getting rid of everything and just going back to digiscoping but with the loss of birds in flight shots.....have found the experience so far very frustrating and quite expensive with a few big mistakes along the way.
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:34 AM
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Re: Sigma 150-500mm anyone use one with a Canon 7D

[quote=darrenm;


A no nonesense book for a beginner on bird photography with DSLR's could be a big seller and it could take away some of the hour upon hour of frustrating trial and error away and for people to start to get the best out of their expensive kit. I dont expect to get award winning photographs but would like to get a few decent ones i can be happy to show people.[/QUOTE]

Hi Darren,

There are several books available. Two that I can recommend are
a) 'Birdwatcher's Guide to Digital Photography' by the well known photographer David Tupling.

b) 'RSPB Digital Wildlife Photography' also by David Tupling.

In addition to books there are many websites that provide tips/techniques on the subject. Type into GOOGLE 'tips on bird photography' or 'bird photography' or something similar.

Hope this helps.

John D

Last edited by John D; 12-03-2011 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 12-03-2011, 09:06 AM
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Re: Sigma 150-500mm anyone use one with a Canon 7D

Quote:
Originally Posted by darrenm View Post
I am putting in 2 full days a week taking photographs at present and any other spare time i get and have done since November but at times have felt like getting rid of everything and just going back to digiscoping but with the loss of birds in flight shots.....have found the experience so far very frustrating and quite expensive with a few big mistakes along the way.
Hi yet again Darren,

I have tried digiscoping but must admit that I found it to be so very limited and much more difficult/frustrating to get a reasonable shot. Many possible shots were impossible especially the very popular 'in flight' or 'action' shots
To me the use of a DSLR and 420mm (equivalen)t lens is much easier and without doubt as far as I am concerned more manageable. It also in the end produces much sharper and detailed images
Everyone to there own methods I suppose.

John D

http://johnswildworld.zenfolio.com/

Last edited by glsammy; 13-03-2011 at 12:07 AM.
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